Train With a Purpose: The Deeper Ideals of Health, Wellness and Functionality With Jonathan Simos

Ep 124 Blog

Is your exercise and fitness routine on auto-pilot? Not reaching your goals? Read on to learn how to train with a purpose to achieve deeper ideals of health, wellness and overall functionality.

Jonathan Simos is my guest, and talks about the holistic nature of exercise and how influential physical training can be.

Also, how to break down self imposed limitations and live up to your truest potential.

Jonathan is a Certified personal trainer with a certification in Applied Functional Science from the Gray institute with a performance enhancement and hybrid certification in progress. He has gained vast experience in the industry from working with various demographics throughout gyms in CA, to gaining experience hosting Camp gladiator outdoor bootcamps, working as an orange theory coach hosting interval, heart rate based training classes, and even obstacle course/ boot camp classes in functional facilities.

Train with a purpose

Ep 124 Quote 01Training with a purpose is not only finding an underlying deeper reason for physical training, but also having a short term goal in mind.

Most people don’t train with any purpose or any short term goals. And a lot of people don’t even have the direction and have zero clue on what to do in the gym.

There’s such a lack of motivation and it’s hard to maintain motivation and consistency if you don’t have an underlying purpose, or find a deeper reason. Everyone needs to find an underlying purpose where it is easier for anyone, young or old, to be more functional throughout the day within whatever lifestyle that he or she has.

Listen to John Symos and his great exercise tips on this Podcast episode here:

On motivation and purpose…

Ep 124 Quote 05Everyone has their preference, and some people may enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking or mountain climbing versus weight lifting.

So it’s not just lifting to get stronger or getting more muscle mass, but to improve and progress in your life. Not just for the health benefits or the aesthetic side, not just to get your bones denser and stronger, it’s also about simply being more functionally fit.

So if someone doesn’t have a goal to train for a race or a competition, they can simply have an underlying purpose to be as fit and functional as they can be within their lifestyle. So it could simply be enhancing their quality of life and the activities that they do.

And so that underlying purpose might be to have better quality of life and longevity. Then a short term goal would be to be able to reach a certain mobility goal. 

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Functional Training

Ep 124 Quote 03Functional training is training your body to perform how it’s supposed to perform for whatever activity you need to work on.

Because the body is holistic it requires a series of push and pull movements, muscles working together in opposing muscles groups.

I always coach for everyone to have a fitness foundation, which would be a cardiovascular base, a weight training base, a mobility base, and then the mental component. So those elements give you a solid fitness foundation. And then you can specialize in certain areas.

Listen to John Symos and his great exercise tips on this Podcast episode here:

On mobility…

Ep 124 Quote 06Mobility is the ability to move a limb through a full range of motion. Or simply being able to basically move to your body’s full capacity. There’s different factors that might limit mobility. If someone has certain tight muscles, it’ll definitely limit the range of motion, or create joint dysfunction.

The most common distortion pattern are caused by sitting for a long period of time.

When we sit a lot, our hip flexors get tight. And when your hip flexors get tight, it turns your glutes off which makes you more quad dominant making your legs and squats workout more difficult.

So if you don’t do weights, you will lose upper body strength and muscle mass. It’s not a bad thing, but you can also maintain the mobility side and maintain most of the strength through dynamic exercises and some flexibility drills.

Strength and mobility and this overall physical fitness can be maintained well into older years. We’re starting to see older generations being very active well into their eighties and even nineties. So fitness is definitely very important especially in maintaining quality of life and activity.

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Recommended “warm up” that involves foam rolling three places:

1.The soleus, which is a muscle under your gastrocnemius, or your lower legs underneath your calves. That’s actually called your second heart because when you contract it, it helps return blood back to the heart. So by foam rolling you could help lengthen that muscle and get more blood flow in there.

2.Piriformis, which is a triangular muscle under your glutes. This little triangular muscle under your glutes can often get overactive, especially when people sit a lot. When the glutes turned off the piriformis is synergistic to your glutes, so it tries to help out your glutes. So if they’re turned off, it’s going to try to overcompensate so then it’s just harder to work your glutes out. But also if it gets over active, it can cause sciatic pain because your sciatic nerve goes through or under. And so by foam rolling that, it helps you activate your glutes more and helps potentially prevent lower back pain.

3.Upper back or T spine. Foam rolling your T spine, the thoracic spine, getting a little more mobility, just letting yourself fall back gently to open things up. Because the other very common distortion pattern that everybody has is internal rotation. Their upper bodies are kind of locked up like their hips. So by laying back on that foam roller, it helps them get that mobility over time.

So a series of yoga moves and dynamic exercises with a couple stretches for about 10 to 15 minutes really gets your blood flow going, and gets your mobility. But the bottom line is, it’s important to have that mobility and a few minutes a day can work wonders over time.

Some practical ways to prep for an amazing workout…

  1. Ep 124 Quote 07Clear your mind. Everyone should have that time, even if it’s five minutes before beginning the warmup, to get their mind right and look at the big picture. Clear your mind to be able to focus on what is coming up. Your thoughts affects you on a cellular level.
  2. Be grateful. Because gratefulness really does change your brain, your mindset, and energy.
  3. Purpose. Zero in with your purpose for training, and then your goal.

The mental side should be part of everyone’s warmup.

In my case, before my workouts on the way to the gym, I’ll start this process just thinking of a big picture, then I’m ready for a great workout. Everything’s great. I have this deeper underlying purpose which is training to inspire others to break down self imposed limitations as a lifetime drug free athlete and also to provide credibility for my venture. And then my goal is to train for an upcoming competition, and whatever my goal is to place in that competition.

Ep 124 Quote 02For my short term goal, I’ll spend a minute and just kind of clear my mind and get focused in and visualize what I need to focus on. 

You’ll notice your energy will be much higher as opposed to just walking in the gym unprepared.

A lot of people go to the gym and just want to get it over with. But it’s much more than that. It’s much more enjoyable and it can be freeing. Just allowing you to get in that zone, which is very beneficial for the mind and body.

If people can learn how to tap into that energy. Not only will their performance go up, but also that level of focus and intensity can be applied to other areas of life. Everything comes together in the end, workouts done well and effectively are an important step towards overcoming self imposed limitations.

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The holistic nature of exercise…

Exercise is holistic because your mind and body really are one. And since the beginning of the fitness industry, we’ve only focused on the body, but the mental aspect is so powerful that it can affect training.

Ep 124 Quote 04When you’re not in the right head space or you’re overly stressed, you’re not going to have the workout uplift.

It’s such a powerful factor and so much of it is mental. As John J. Ratey‘s says, “exercise is the single best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory, and learning.”

So my concept of holistic training is not just working out the body as a unit in a series of push and pull movements, but also working out your mind with mental exercises, and visualizations. It actually starts with having a training purpose, understanding your reasons, looking at the big picture, planning that goal, and then sort of clearing your mind. The mental side is just as important if not more than the rest and visualization is just as real as reality. Because the power of the mind to influence our physical reality is unbelievable.

Break down self imposed limitations and live up to your truest potential

Make your workout nice, easy, and simple…

You could work out full body three times a week in a series of movements like so:

  • One chest exercise, horizontal pull
  • One back exercise for upper back
  • Vertical push for shoulders
  • Vertical pull (pull ups) for the biggest muscle in your back – lats.
  • Elbow extension, which would be triceps.
  • Elbow flexion, which would be biceps.
  • Core: Do a flexion or rotation and an anti rotation. But you could literally do flexion most of the time. So one exercise for that, or a cable twist for the rotation.
  • Legs: Two exercises for legs, because legs are either hip dominant or knee dominant.

You could have a full body workout doing two sets of these exercises, 12 to 15 reps, but two sets is sufficient, especially in the beginning. One exercise for each movement and you’re out within 30 – 45 minutes. So even doing the proper warm up and stretching aftewards you’re out within an hour and then eventually you can throw on a third set.

But literally one exercise for each of those is sufficient to get stronger and maintain that balance for the everyday person. So it can be much more simple than a lot of people think.

Listen to John Symos and his great exercise tips on this Podcast episode here:

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